I’ve been hearing a lot about the case of an Ohio police officer who is being praised for refusing to use deadly force when he was charged by a possibly armed double homicide suspect.
Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran Jesse Kidder of the New Richmond Police Department refused to fire his service weapon when charged by Michael Wilcox, and instead backpedaled, weapon drawn, as Wilcox closed in.
Here’s the video of the event from Kidder’s personal body camera.
After reviewing the video several times, I have to say that Jesse Kidder is a fine humanitarian… and that he should be fired from his job immediately before he gets other officers or citizens killed for being so reluctant to use force when the situation demanded it.
Whoa. Did he really just say that?
Yes, and I’m quite serious.
As Wilcox charges, Kidder abandoned his vehicle, which had a long-gun inside. Wilcox could have easily stolen the vehicle and the weapon.
Kidder gave up this better defensive position behind his vehicle door to backpedal, greatly increasing the likelihood that he would fall.
Indeed Kidder did fall, and nearly fired his weapon in a direction that could have easily struck either his own right leg, or could have penetrated one of the homes that he flagged as he went down and then began to recover.
Other officers arrived seconds later, and Wilcox then surrendered. We don’t know what would have happened if those other officers hadn’t arrived. Perhaps Wilcox would have surrendered to Kidder, but after chasing him for what appears to be at least 50 yards down the road, I rather doubt it. If Wilcox had been afforded a few more seconds, it is quickly likely that we’d instead be reading about a young officer who was killed with his own weapon when he refused to follow his training.
I’m not bashing Jesse Kidder as a person, as he showed incredible restraint that will be a great asset in many endeavors, but he simply is not cut out to be a police officer.
When you put on the shield, you make a commitment to the public and to your fellow officers to do what is in the best interests of public safety. Sometimes that includes firing a weapon at a threat as you are trained to do, as the situation dictates.
Wilcox’s series of charges clearly required Kidder to follow his training and shoot the double murder suspect as he closed the distance down to mere feet.
How can any New Richmond police officer now trust Kidder in any future scenarios? Could you trust him if he was your backup to take the appropriate action in future high-risk stops? For that matter, doesn’t his reluctance to follow his training make all future interactions with him a “high risk” event for fellow officers?
Officer Jesse Kidder was clearly willing to put his life on the line to avoid shooting a suspected double murderer.
What he doesn’t seem to grasp is that he put countless other lives at risk as well.